Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Victor Orta delivers firm ‘no panic’ message to fans as Leeds relegation talk is addressed

Victor Orta, Leeds United director of football

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta insists those in power at Elland Road remain calm and insists there remains a confidence they won’t be relegated from the Premier League.

The Whites go into Wednesday night’s match against title challengers Liverpool at Anfield in a poor run of form. Indeed, they have just one win in their last six matches – away at West Ham – to show for their efforts. And a defeat on Merseyside would be making it four losses in their last five games were they to be beaten.

Indeed, there are mitigating circumstances behind Leeds’ poor run of results. They remain without captain Liam Cooper and talismanic midfielder Kalvin Phillips – both of whom are slotted in for an early March return.

Furthermore, last season’s 17-goal top scorer Patrick Bamford has played just 20 minutes since sustaining injury at Newcastle on September 17.

And with a small squad at their disposal, Leeds have struggled to find anything like last season’s consistency.

Indeed, Leeds are currently just five points clear of the relegation places going into the clash at Anfield. And with Tottenham next on the agenda, it does not get much easier for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

Victor Orta remains confident of survival

That said, Orta insists Leeds are not yet panicking about the drop. In an interview with Spanish outlet COPE, he claims Leeds remain confident they can stay in the Premier League.

“We are at that moment when the bad ball with rivals comes a little again,” Victor Orta said.

“It’s a week of passion, Manchester on Sunday, Liverpool tomorrow, and then Tottenham.

“We are doing well enough, but not enough with the sensations. All of the leadership are working, and I have the feeling that we will be safe.”

Bielsa in staunch defence of leaky Leeds

Bielsa, meanwhile, insists his defenders do not need to improve despite the side shipping 50 goals already this season.

Chelsea lead race against Barcelona for Leeds winger Raphinha this summer

Chelsea lead the race for Raphinha from Leeds United with Barcelona falling short

Ahead of the match at Anfield, there are plenty who fear another thrashing for Leeds.

And having let in four (v Man Utd), three (v Everton) and three (v Villa) in their last three games, Bielsa has addressed claims about leaky Leeds.

“I did not say the defence needed to improve, I said the defensive system needed to improve,” said Bielsa.

“The consistency the players in midfield offer allows us to strengthen the defensive system. The characteristics of the players in the midfield give it a more defensive or offensive profile.

“I said all of this to explain because we have conceded 50 goals. Second most conceded in the league. I have to account for this because I am responsible.

“I wanted to explain in the game against Manchester we did not have Phillips, Koch or Pascal [in holding midfield]. Three players who take on the role of defensive midfield to solidify them.

“We don’t resolve that with bringing signings in. If not, we would [have] four players for that position. Imagine being able to count on all three for that position. It’s a privilege.

“At the same time, occasionally situations like this are presented. Strangely, the fourth player in that role is the best player of the team in the second half: Forshaw.

“Of course, analysing the last game, we created eight chances at goal and the opponent created eight chances at goal as well. They managed to score double the goals we did.

“When I analyse the defensive behaviour, I refer to the structure I generate. That has conceded 50 goals. After you have to analyse why. What are the real reasons and how to avoid this from happening. That’s my function and when you have played these games and these goals, the conclusions are clear.”

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